Felex Share Senior Reporter
The consolidated voters’ roll for the 2018 harmonised elections is now available and contains more than 5,6 million registered voters, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said yesterday. Justice Chigumba told journalists in Harare that candidates contesting the July 30 polls would get electronic copies of the voters’ roll free of charge while members of the public would pay set fees.
“This is indeed a historic moment for the Commission and the generality of all Zimbabweans who have remained patient up to this day,” she said.
“The Commission is aware that the voters’ roll is a critical component of the electoral process and in some instances, a source of electoral disputes. Be that as it may, the Commission hopes that the voters’ roll that is being availed today will meet public expectations and stakeholders who have devoted their precious time and resources in complementing Zec’s efforts towards this achievement. The electronic copies of the voters’ roll will be availed to candidates contesting the forthcoming harmonised elections free of charge in terms of Section 21 (6) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13].”
She said for the public, a national voters’ roll would cost $20 while a constituency voters’ roll is pegged at $10.
A ward voters’ roll costs $2.
“A hard black and white copy of the voter’ roll shall be 10 cents per page for the national, polling station, ward and constituency voters’ rolls,” Justice Chigumba said.
“The voters’ roll contains 5 681 604 registered voters. This figure excludes those who have registered after the cut-off date of June 1, 2018 and those on the exclusion list. The exclusion list has entries which include the deceased, those with ID queries such as sharing the same ID number and invalid IDs as well as some multiple registrants and those whose data is yet to be decrypted who registered during the inspection period.”
She said the exclusion list had approximately 100 000 people including the deceased.
Justice Chigumba handed over a copy of an electronic voters’ roll to Bruce Nyoni, who represented people with disabilities and became the first Zimbabwean to access the final voters’ roll.
She also handed over another copy to 18-year Kelly Gaston, a first time female voter.
She said Zec had failed to avail the final voters’ roll before the Nomination Court sat due to circumstances beyond its control.
“We found ourselves unable to complete the cleaning of the data which we had obtained during the inspection period,” Justice Chigumba.
“During the inspection period people were filling in forms to change polling stations, people were filling hard copies of forms to correct errors. Those hard copies of all those corrections had to be brought here at the head office from all the provinces which took a couple of days and the data had to be uploaded onto computers and it had to be decrypted. Decryption took substantial number of days more than we had anticipated and finally we had to run a final round of de-duplication using our AFIS programme.”
She went on: “When we realised that we were not going to be ready in time for Nomination Court we did avail the provisional roll on computers in all of our nomination centres and all our candidates were ably assisted by our trained officials at those venues to access it.”
Justice Chigumba said following the sitting of the Nomination Court on Thursday, the electoral body was now collecting and collating statistics from provinces to facilitate gazetting of the names of candidates who succeeded.
She said of the 23 aspiring presidential candidates who were successfully nominated, three were women while one was an independent candidate.
She said 28 people aspired to be presidents, but five failed to meet the requirements.
On the alleged militarisation of the electoral body, Justice Chigumba said they approximately had 13,8 percent of retired military personnel within their ranks.
“They answered to advertisement, went through interviews and were successfully assigned to certain duties in Zec,” she said.
“There is no law in Zimbabwe that prevents us from employing anyone who we are sure is no longer serving.
“I am challenging anybody who has evidence that we have serving personnel in the military within our ranks to bring forward that evidence. Until such a time that evidence is availed to me, I will avail that we are not doing anything wrong.”
Justice Chigumba appealed to political parties and independent candidates to campaign peacefully and desist from intimidating voters for the country to have free, fair and credible elections.
The media, she said, should give balanced coverage to all contestants.